I Want It All!

“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God”  Acts 20:27

A pastor friend of my husbands shared the following letter which he received from a man in his church. I really appreciate the spirit of this letter.  The Bible makes mention in the book of Romans of “the goodness and severity of God”. I believe if we are really going to live the way God wants us to live, we need to have an understanding of both.  God is not only a God of love, but He is also a God of justice and judgment.  I’m thankful to have known some ministers that like the apostle Paul have not been negligent or fearful to declare all the counsel of God. May the Lord raise up more  men like this in these last days.

Dear Pastor,

Preach to me no more sermons on God’s love, unless it is accompanied by a message of His holiness.  Preach to me no more sermons of His amazing grace without mentioning from what His grace saves me.  Preach to me no more sermons of my Lord’s mercy except it be contrasted with what He would otherwise be just and righteous to do.

I cannot understand this God of love without hearing of His many other characteristics.  My God is wonderfully complex, but He has been reduced to a god of mere sentiment and romance, which god has no power to save.  Explain to me the wrathful God of the Old Testament.  Acquaint me with His jealousy; why is His Name Jealous?  When God says He “hates,” tell me what is it He despises?  Show me His anger in full that I might know the object of this anger and avoid it in my own life.  Don’t down play and trivialize His anger, I know He doesn’t change.

Show me the horrors of hell that I might truly prize my salvation and seek to share Him with others.  Teach me to be hopeful of Judgment Day but to share with those whom are lost they should greatly fear it.  Declare God’s holy commandments that I might have a portrait of His purity and holiness and conversely, that I might know what sin is.  Proclaim to me my sin—that I lie, that I cheat, that I hate and covet.  Tell me of my helplessness to keep said commandments that you might impress upon me my dire need of a Savior.

Once I have a grasp of the abomination of sin, then and only then, show me my Savior!  When I fully comprehend the depth and breadth of my personal sin, my original sin, my self-righteousness and my unbelief, then the Gospel will really be Good News!  When I realize my nakedness before God, my utter bankruptcy with respect to sin, I might esteem my deliverance utterly.  Pastor, teach me the meaning of repentance, that I might truly be forgiven.  Show me true humility that I might know its semblance.

Declare to me the offense of the cross and expound upon its meaning.  Tell me, Pastor, why does it offend?  Don’t merely tell me this is God’s love; help me to see His perfect justice in this Event.  Describe for me also the representation of His holiness and righteousness at Calvary.  Explain to me that this is what I have escaped through a life laid down for Christ; that this is the hell I deserved and instead Jesus took the punishment.  Tell me that on that day, He became sin for sinners.

Then permit me to see by example how to live for this beautiful Savior.  Help me to see in you the life of the redeemed.  Show me your love for the lost; teach me likewise how to pour out my heart for them.

Then finally, tell me of God’s wonderful love for me.  Then I think I will really understand “how great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”  Then I know I will understand.  Then I will be truly in His loving grip.

– Anonymous

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7 thoughts on “I Want It All!

  1. This reminds me of a sermon, perhaps the best I’ve ever heard. It was given by a history professor at the college I went to (Hillsdale College). He was discussing a verse from Malachi 1:2 “‘I have loved you,’ says the LORD. But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?'” Being a history professor, of course, it turned into a bit of a sermon about the importance of history in our walk with God (both our own history and the history of the Church).

    At one point be began describing the danger of emphasizing part of God’s nature over the other parts. “We do not know what it means to be divine…We have become so used to naturalist explanations of how the world works, why things happen to us. We have become so distant from nature herself, the changing seasons. It’s very easy to believe that we human beings are the only objects in creation with any sense of control and that’s the way it should be.” He goes on to describe how it is only when we become more fully aware of God, both the Lion and the Lamb, that we will truly become a grateful, thankful people.

    Hi New Maldon. Your college professor sounds like a wise man. I’m somewhat familiar with Hillsdale College. My husband gets their Imprimis magazine and enjoys it. I like what you said in your last sentence about knowing God as the Lion and the Lamb can help us become a grateful, thankful people. I believe that’;s true. Thanks for stopping by today.

  2. I have been blessed to read two good letters posted in blogs this week, this one that you’ve posted, and another one on Joy’s blog. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Carol: I really like this. I remember hearing a lot of preaching like this up in WA state. Good, good post. I plan to save this and pass this on to some folks.

    SEE YOU SOON, the Lord willing. That Jen, YA KNOW.

    L,
    Stome

  4. Good afternoon. I’ve linked to so many pots lately, but this one is needful of a link also. It’s imperative to embrace the whole councel of God. Otherwise we’ll end up proclaiming a lopsided message which gives one a distorted picture of truth. Great post!

    Blessings always in Jesus name.

    timbob

    Hi Timbob. Yes, I believe it is necessary that we have an understanding of both the goodness and severity of God that we might live the way Jesus wants us to live. As always, thanks for taking the time to stop by.

  5. The Love of God really is the ongoing theme of the entire Bible. God is Love. The greatest commandment is to love God and the 2nd greatest is to love others. The pharisees were rebuked and a woe was placed upon them by Jesus Himself because they emphasized externals but neglected love justice and mercy. Matt. 23

    Sure, the world has perverted Gods love into a liscense to live any ol way but that doesnt mean we should throw out love.In an effort to distance ourselves from the Charasmatics Catholics and Baptists we tend to run from some of the most beautiful and true aspects of our God.

    Charity NEVER fails.

    Hi CM. I do believe the love of God is a theme that we see running through the Bible. It is so rich and deep that I don’t think we’ll ever truly comprehend it all in this life. However, I do think there needs to be a balance in preaching. It’s important to have an understanding of God’s justice and judgement as well as His love. What kind of parents would we be if we never corrected our children and they never experienced any unpleasant consequences for their negative behavior? I see correction as being a part of love. I could expound more, but I am pressed for time right now. Anyhow, I hope this makes sense, and thanks for dropping by and leaving your comments.

    1. Dear CM,

      This letter does not ask that we “throw out love”- as you seem to imply. Rather it is imploring the preacher to tell the whole story so that we can rightly comprehend His love (within our human limits) and therefore properly respond to His love. The letter is not about throwing out His love – but rather of embracing His love with with greater comprehension. To only speak of the love of God, without speaking of His justice and holiness gives us a distorted view of His love.

      “Hereby perceive we the love of God: in that He laid down His life for us.” – I John 3:16 – The Cross was a place where His Justice met His Mercy – it was a brutal place where the payment of our sins was exacted. People need to hear the whole story – and I intend to preach it. I hope that this makes sense to you.

      Blessings,

  6. Wow! I liked this letter! It brought to mind a scripture: ‘Behold the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity, but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. Romans 11:22
    Yes, God is a God of love, but also of judgment. There has to be a balance between the two. I don’t want a sugar-coated gospel, but one that points out my sin and guides me to repentance and salvation. Thank God we have this in His Word.

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